Japan’s exports fell at the slowest pace in a year in October as worldwide government spending boosted demand, sustaining the economic recovery, the Finance Ministry said Wednesday.
Shipments abroad slid 23.2 percent from a year earlier, compared with a 30.6 percent decline in September, the ministry said. A median estimate by 18 economists was for a 26.8 percent drop.
The figures suggest the economy’s rebound from its deepest postwar recession will extend into this quarter as Asian demand spurs sales for manufacturers from Honda Motor Co. to Hitachi Construction Machinery Co.
Exports helped the economy expand at its fastest pace in more than two years in the third quarter, even as prices of goods fell and the yen rose.
“Exports to Asia have been very strong,” said Seiji Shiraishi, chief economist at HSBC Securities Japan Ltd. “By January to March next year, we should start to see a slowdown” as the effect of global stimulus fades, he said.
Imports slid 35.6 percent from a year earlier, the ministry said. The improvement in exports helped the trade surplus climb to ¥807.1 billion, the biggest since March 2008 and larger than the ¥465.5 billion median estimate of analysts. From a month earlier, exports rose 2.5 percent, the fastest pace since April.
Asian economies are benefiting from a global trade rebound that’s being driven by interest-rate cuts and more than $2 trillion in government spending worldwide. Taiwan’s export orders climbed in October for the first time in 13 months. Chinese exports fell at the slowest pace in 10 months.
Honda almost tripled its full-year profit forecast as government stimulus measures boosted demand for fuel-efficient vehicles. Hitachi Construction Machinery, Asia’s second-largest excavator maker, returned to profit last quarter as cost cuts countered a sales slide.